5 Ways the Concept of Newsworthiness Can Help Your Marketing

When producing content for your website or social media, you want people to interact with it. 

Interaction can mean a few different things, from liking it, sharing a post or page link, or simply reading it and thinking, “That was interesting.” That last action is just as important as “liking” or “Sharing” content.

While it’s not measurable, if someone reads or watches something you post, that means they’re unconsciously deciding you produce content of value. That means they trust you, and later, they’ll come back to your site or social media account to see if you’ve posted more stuff they find interesting. They’ll remember your brand name. Eventually…who knows when…this may lead to them making a purchase from you.

producing content


People interact or find content interesting when it’s newsworthy. Now newsworthy doesn’t mean the stories they cover on the nightly news. Newsworthiness is a journalism concept that can be applied to digital marketing. It doesn’t mean you need to comment on world affairs, or be all serious, but it means you need to think about your audience and the topics that matter to them.

We have a lot of current and former journalists on our content creation team, so we interviewed them to ask them what newsworthiness means to them and should mean to businesses interested in marketing. Here’s what they said. 


Why Should Non Journalists Care About a Journalism Term? 

Understanding news and content theories will help you select strong ideas for content marketing, ads, blog posts, web pages, social media and digital PR campaigns.

In other words, instead of doing any writing, video making, photo storytelling, podcasts or any other stories halfway – you do them the right way from the very beginning. No more wasting time on blog posts or social media posts no one clicks on, likes or shares. 

If you understand newsworthiness before you even write a word or search for an image, you’ll make sure you’re starting with the right idea. When your content is newsworthy it can better compete in a wide world of content that’s fighting for people’s attention.

Even better, when you produce good content, a journalist, blogger, or influencer may spot it and link to it. 

That means people who follow that news organization or influencer will suddenly be exposed to your brand, which they may never have heard of.

Even better, those links mean a lot to Search Engine Optimization (SEO). When Google sees a lot of websites linking to another website, it signals to their algorithm “That second website must be pretty good because other people like it. Rank it higher for certain search terms.”

So newsworthiness helps you get eyeballs on your brand, improves trust between you and potential customers and helps with your SEO. Reading this post about newsworthiness is definitely worth your time.

Here are the five components of what makes something newsworthy. 


1. Impact

Got a broad idea for a topic for a blog post, web page or social media post. Stop right there. Ask yourself this question: How will this affect my audiences’  lives? Now the effect doesn’t have to be groundbreaking. It doesn’t have to “save lives.” But if it doesn’t bring them joy, solve a problem, entertain them, or help them in some way, you can stop right there. Your topic probably isn’t newsworthy enough. 

Here’s an example. Let’s say you sell sea salt. One good topic is that sea salt is better for one’s health than regular salt. So the impact of one post could be explaining sea salt vs. regular salt benefits. 

You could do another post about using sea salt in hamburgers instead of regular salt. This solves a person’s problem and entertains them a bit – it jazzes up a regular nightly recipe.

But posting a picture of a new sea salt product you’re launching, without talking about what makes it different from your other products or other sea salts, has no impact. Who cares if there’s one more sea salt product line in the world? No one.

The impact helps everyone see the importance of the web page, blog post or social media post to the reader. 

Impact, simply put, is showing relevance to the people affected by something. The greater the number of people affected, the greater the impact. 

man reading news


2. Timeliness

Timeliness answers the question: Why are you telling me this now?

Timeliness doesn’t mean something has to be new, but you have to make it clear what the relevance is to the moment we’re in.

Imagine you sell gardening seeds. Well, you know no one in a cold climate will be gardening in January. However, you can stay top of mind by posting and writing about what they can be doing to prepare for spring during winter, i.e. cleaning gardening supplies and even starting to grow seeds indoors under grow lights. And guess what? You sell seeds! So even in winter, your business can be timely. 

You can also make something timely by linking it to an anniversary. For example, has it been 7 years since you opened your business? Well then a post about your business is timely, and long-time customers will hopefully like or share it. 

You can also make products timely by thinking about the season, and not just seasons in terms of weather. There’s prom season. Back to school season. Graduation season. Holidays are seasons even if they’re only one day – people prepare for Christmas and the 4th of July, making it a season, not just a day. 

So make connections for your readers by drawing a link between today (or tomorrow or the season) and your products or services, even if there is nothing particularly “new” about them. 


3. Prominence

Prominence answers this question: Why are you telling me this?

Just think about it. People are being “told stuff” all day. From their friends and family through texts and phone calls, from personal interactions at work and home. At stores, we’re told prices when we read labels. 

So when a business posts something on social media, or sends us an email newsletter, or adds any sort of content to their website, people unconsciously ask, “So what?” Why do I need to know this in addition to anything else I’ve been told today?

Take a lighthearted approach. But be a teacher. Explain why the content matters. 

In digital marketing, this concept is now more commonly thought of as establishing authority.

As an expert, you know why people should be told whatever you’re telling them. You don’t need to be lengthy about it – just make the connection.

Let’s think about Time Magazine’s Person of the Year – Taylor Swift. She’s all over the news right now, especially on Sundays when she attends her boyfriend’s game or when she performs a concert.

She’s famous for her cherry red lipstick.

Let’s say she performs a concert wearing her signature lipstick. You own a paint company. You can create a social media post that says something like, “Want to paint a room the color of Taylor Swift’s favorite lipstick? Check out our x product.” 

You draw a connection about why you’re promoting this specific paint on this specific day – the paint relates to a timely pop culture news story.


4. Proximity

Proximity is about distance. Why does your product, post, email or web page about your product, service or business matter to people in a specific region? 

This is particularly important if you provide a local service or products, or own a brick-and-mortar store. Think about pizza places. All that matters is their delivery zone.

But let’s go back to our seed store example. They have a national, if not international audience. In the United States, there are five gardening zones. Seeds and plants thrive in different zones, and should be planted and cared for at different times according to what zone a person lives in.

So you can sell your seeds everywhere, but you should probably send email newsletters only to users in Zone 1 when they’re at their peak planting season. 

Don’t send emails about how to take care of tomato seeds to people who live in Zone 5 (Chicago) in winter. No one is growing tomatoes then. They can, however, be reminded to order their seeds for tomatoes in February through social media posts or emails. 

Couple work on lap top

5. The Bizarre

Is there anything unexpected about your product, topic or business?

There’s a journalistic lesson that’s something like, ‘When a dog bites a man, that’s not an interesting story. It happens all the time. But if a man bites a dog, then that’s news.’ 

So if something unique or bizarre (in a good way, not a bad way) ever happens that’s about your products, services or business, promote it! 

Let’s go back to Taylor Swift. Over the holidays, she wore a Santa hat to many football games. Does your store sell those? That’s kinda bizarre! Promote it.

Hopefully, you see how journalistic theories relate to digital marketing. That’s why we have so many journalists on our team. Reach out to learn more about how their skills can set your content apart. 

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